March 25th, 2012
Jim Leyland is referring to the open positional spot on the Opening Day roster as the 25th man, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t placing some importance on it. It’s a tough decision, and to hear Leyland discuss it, it’s not than either-or decision with Clete Thomas and Andy Dirks, either.
“Most people are talking about two guys,” Leyland said Sunday morning before the Tigers’ split-squad tilt with the Yankees. “There’s definitely more than two guys, I can promise you this.”
Considering the guys still in camp, they aren’t all outfielders, either. Quintin Berry remains in camp and has made an impression on Tigers people as a non-roster invite; the math suggests he’s the one extra outfielder in the mix. There are guys beyond that, Leyland suggested.
That would seemingly include infielder Danny Worth. Audy Ciriaco remains in camp, as does Argenis Diaz. Ryan Strieby has drawn raves from Leyland, but his playing time has been extremely limited.
“I could go with four or five guys for that 25th man and be very comfortable,” Leyland said.
If Worth is one of those four or five, then it backs up the idea that Brandon Inge is on the team.
About the only thing Leyland guaranteed is that the last positional guy won’t be a catcher.
“I’ve got four catchers — two emergency, and two catchers,” Leyland said.
The two emergency catchers, Leyland said, are Don Kelly and Inge.
They split up the squads pretty evenly for the trip, which probably wasn’t too big of a challenge since Tampa is such a close drive.
On the flip side, if the Tigers wanted a test for Duane Below, well, they’ve got it. With a couple exceptions, this looks awfully close to an Opening Day lineup for the Yankees.
- Austin Jackson, CF
- Ramon Santiago, SS
- Clete Thomas, RF
- Alex Avila, C
- Delmon Young, DH
- Ryan Strieby, 1B
- Brandon Inge, 2B
- Quintin Berry, LF
- Danny Worth, 3B
P: Duane Below
- Derek Jeter, SS
- Curtis Granderson, CF
- Robinson Cano, 2B
- Alex Rodriguez, 3B
- Mark Teixeira, 1B
- Russell Martin, C
- Andruw Jones, DH
- Eduardo Nunez, RF
- Brett Gardner, LF
P: Michael Pineda